I’m very sure we all must have heard a lot about cancer, and perhaps very scary things too!
But this article will make the topic “cancer” more informative, educative, as simplified as possible and maybe less scarier covering all Cancer: Types, Causes, Symptoms & Signs Prevention, and Treatments.
First! What is Cancer?
Our bodies are made up of cells, when these cells in our body begins to grow abnormally, uncontrollably and then starts to destroy body tissues, that is cancer!
Often times people mistake tumors for cancer.
That brings us to what is tumor?
When there’s an uncontrollable growth of cells in solid tissues like muscles, bones or organs, that is a tumor!
Do you know that a tumor can be malignant or benign?
A malignant tumor consist of cancerous cells and spreads to other parts while a benign tumor consist of noncancerous cells and do not spread.
Is cancer contagious?
The answer is NO!
Is cancer hereditary?
Well! There are some persons who are born with genetic mutations which they inherited from their parents. This genetic mutations(damaged gene) therefore place them at a greater risk of having cancer sooner or later.
Is cancer a microorganism?
No! Cancer is not a microorganism. But there are some microorganisms that can cause cancer, they include
- Epstein Barr’s virus which is capable of triggering lymphatic cancer (lymphoma).
- Hepatitis B and C virus which can cause liver cancer (also known as hepatic cancer or hepatoma).
- Human papillomavirus which is the major cause of cancer of the cervix (cervical cancer)
- Helicobacter pylori which causes stomach cancer (gastric cancer)
There are so many types of cancer (but only a few would be mentioned in this article); they include:
- BLADDER CANCER – also known as bladder carcinoma. This type of cancer mostly affects older adults.
Risk for bladder cancer: smoking, exposure to chemicals and exposure to radiation.
There are 3 types of bladder carcinoma
- Urothelial carcinoma- accounts for 90% of most bladder cancers
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- BOWEL CANCER– also known as colorectal cancer. This type of cancer involves the colon or rectum. Bowel cancer majorly begins in the large bowel
- BONE CANCER– also known as bone neoplasm
Risk factors of bone cancer: family history, radiotherapy and bone injuries that healed abnormally.
- BRAIN CANCER- also known as brain tumor. Note that not all brain tumors or growth in the brain are cancerous.
- BREAST CANCER- This is one of the most common type of cancer especially in USA.
There are about 4 Cancer types of of the breast
- Ductal carcinoma
- Invasive ductal carcinoma
- Inflammatory breast cancer
- Metastatic breast cancer- also classified as stage 4 breast cancer.
That brings us to the stages of breast cancer.
- Stage 0– Early diagnosed cancer; This stage starts in the duct or milk gland of the breast and stays there.
- Stage 1- The invasive stage; in this stage, the cancer breaks free and attacks healthy tissues. Stage 1 further divides into A and B.
- stage 1a– the cancer start to spread to fatty tissues of the breast.
- stage 1b– very few cancer cells would be found in a few lymph nodes.
- Stage 2- In this stage, the cancer is grown and has spread. Stage 2 is also divided into A and B.
- stage 2a– the breast tumors are still small and there may be very few or no cancer cells in the lymph nodes.
- stage 2b– the breast tumors are now big, the tumor may be as big as a lime or walnut.
- Stage 3- In this stage the cancer is advanced, although it hasn’t spread to the bones or organs yet but it becomes harder to fight. Stage 3 is be divided into A, B and C.
- Stage 3a- here, the cancer is found in up to nine (9) lymph nodes (lymph nodes that forms a chain from the underarm to the collar bone. Also in this stage, the cancer might enlarged the lymph nodes deep into the breast.
- Stage 3b– the cancer is now grown, and grows into the wall or skin around the breast.
- Stage 3c– The cancer is now found in up to ten(10) or more lymph nodes or has now spread above or below the collar bone. Also in stage 3c, fewer lymph nodes outside the breast are enlarged.
- Stage 4– In this stage(also called the metastatic stage), the breast cancer cells has now spread beyond the breast and the lymph nodes around the breast. The breast cancer cells have now spread into the lungs, liver, and brains.
US Breast Cancer Statistics.
Studies and researches are done in US have shown that 1 out of 8 US women is at risk of developing stage 2 breast cancer (i,e invasive breast cancer).
In the year 2020, over 200,000 or more new cases of stage 2 breast cancer (invasive) has been estimated to be diagnosed in US women and also 40,000 or more new cases of stage 1 (noninvasive breast cancer).
In January 2020, there is an estimate of over 3.5 million women with the history of breast cancer in US. This estimate includes women who are currently undergoing treatment and those who have undergone treatment and has been cured.
Apart from skin cancer, the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer in American women is breast cancer.
CHILDHOOD CANCER– This cancer entails all kinds that occur in children or could occur in childhood, it is also known as childhood cancer.
This type of cancer occurs as a result of a genetic mutation. Childhood cancers account for less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed yearly.
Types of Childhood Cancer
– Acute myeloid leukemia
– Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
– Hodgkin disease (Hodgkin lymphoma)
CERVICAL CANCER- This is also known as cancer of the cervix. Women older than 20years are at risk of cervical cancer.
GASTROINTESTINAL CANCER- includes malignant conditions of the any o all parts of the Gastrointestinal tract(esophagus, stomach, pancreas, small and large intestines,rectum and anus) and its accessory organs.
GYNECOLOGICAL CANCER- also known as women cancer. Gynecological cancer is used to refer to all types of cancer that occurs (in) or affects the female reproductive organs/genitals.
Gynecological cancer includes cancer of the fallopian tubes, vagina, vulva, cervix, uterus(womb) and the ovaries.
HEAD AND NECK- This type of cancer involves the mouth, the nose, the throat, the larynx, sinuses and the salivary gland.
Yearly head and neck cancer occurs in about sixty-five thousand(65,000) people in US.
KIDNEY CANCER- also known as renal cancer.
Risk factors include; smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, and old age.
LIVER CANCER- This is also known as hepatic cancer. Risk factors includes; too much consumption of alcohol, aflatoxicosis, diabetes. Liver cancer is the second leading cancer death in Nigeria.
LUNG CANCER- This is also known as lung carcinoma. The major risk factor for lung carcinoma is smoking.
PROSTATE CANCER- This is also known as prostatic carcinoma. Prostatic cancer or prostatic carcinoma occurs only in men because only men have prostate although the skene gland (found in females) sometimes referred to as the female prostate because it produces similar hormones just like the male prostate. Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in men, prostate cancer in women is very rare. The most common risk factors are age and family history.
SKIN CANCER- There are basically three(3) cancer types of the skin;
- Basal cell carcinoma (most common type)
- Squamous cell carcinoma (second most common)
- Melanoma (a deadliest and most aggressive form of skin cancer)
Major risk factors of skin cancer include; skin exposure to Ultraviolet rays/light and skin exposure to chemicals.
STOMACH CANCER- also known as gastric cancer
Major Risk factors include; family history, smoking, stomach infection with helicobacter pylori, a chronic stomach infection, and too much salty and smoking foods.
MYELOMA- also known as cancer of the plasma cell
Major risk factors includes; exposure to radiation/chemicals, age, immune disorder and family history.
LEUKEMIA- also known as cancer of the blood. In the USA, as at the year 2019, research shows that a combined estimate of about 1.5 million to 1.76 million people are expected to be diagnosed with blood cancer (leukemia, lymphoma and myeloid)
Risk factors include Smoking, Family history, History of chemo, and Radiotherapy.
Signs and Symptoms of Cancer
Its important to note that symptoms of cancer experienced depends on the type of cancer or where the cancer cells start growing.
But there are few warning signs
- Chronic sores with continuous bleeding/discharge.
- Abnormal lump or swelling or thick skin growing on any part of the body
- Unexplainable loss of weight
- Persistent cough
- Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
- Abnormal changes in bladder
Remember, signs depend on son the type of cancer
Treatment also depends on the type of cancer, the stage or severity of cancer, and the part of the body where cancer affects. Early diagnosis also facilitates or increases the chances of survival.
- Healthy lifestyle
- Healthy diet
- Read Also: 11 Health Benefits of Cashew Nuts
- An environment that is free of extremely harsh chemicals and radiation.
- Abstain from smoking and use of tobacco.
- Always protect your skin from the sun (ultraviolet rays)
- Avoid the use of the chemical on the skin as much as possible
- Always go for medical checkup if you notice anything abnormal about your body.
Cancer is deadly but can be preventable and survivable.
The earlier the diagnosis, the better the chances!